'Birdman' Lost In Sky Arrow Accident
They called him the
Birdman... Italian pilot Angelo D'Arrigo, who flew with flocks of
geese across the Siberian wasteland, and trailed Step Eagles above
Tibet. He was even known to have surprised Mount Everest
expeditioners in 2004, by flying above the summit in a hang
Aero-News has learned D'Arrigo died over the weekend at an
airshow in Comiso, Italy, when the Sky Arrow in which he was a
passenger crashed. The pilot of the aircraft, retired Italian
military officer Guilio de Marchis, also died when the small plane
tumbled out of the sky from about 650 feet.
D'Arrigo seemed most at home in the sky, among his fellow
high-fliers. In 2001, he guided a migratory eagle over the Sahara
desert and the Mediterranean Sea via hang-glider, completing the
first "free flight Sahara crossing" in history, according to a post
on MountEverest.net. It was the first of several such expeditions,
which caught the attention of scientists studying the migratory
flights of various bird species.
The pilot was also known for his flights over some of the
world's tallest peaks. In 2004, D'Arrigo stunned climbers on
Mount Everest when he flew a hang-glider over the fabled
peak. During that flight, he also released a Himalayan
eagle in Everest National Park.
He later broke his own
altitude record, set on the Everest trip, by flying nearly 30,000
feet over Tupungato volcano, in the Andean Cordillera on the last
day of 2005. D'Arrigo was planning to go to Antarctica next year,
to hang-glide over Mount Vinson.
D'Arrigo maintained his kinship with birds by sponsoring the
Condor Research Project, which cared for and gave flying lessons to
two condor chicks raised in captivity. The pilot was planning to
release the two birds into their natural environment in the
Peruvian Andes next year, according to MountEverest.net.
Another pilot will now need to handle that trip... but we feel
those birds will still be helped aloft by the guiding hand of